By SHERIDAN CYR
There is always something going on in downtown Southington. With a neighborhood of streets dotted with local family businesses, the center of town is known to residents to be a unique and diverse area for retail, food, drink, and fun.
With the area ever-changing, town officials regularly check in on business owners and keep tabs of what is going well, and what could use some improvement. During the Southington Chamber of Commerce’s annual downtown walk-through, town officials and a number of local business owners had a chance to see first-hand the activity in the retail center.
“What’s nice about the turnover in this area is it happens very quickly,” said chamber executive director Taylor Crofton. “When one business closes, another business opens.”
One of the oldest businesses in the area is Serafino Pharmacy, owned by Ron Serafino, who has been running the store for 64 years. He also owns some of the surrounding properties.
“We have been very lucky here. It’s been lots of work and facing a lot of competition,” said Serafino. “Our tenants have brought great business to the area. We try to make a good mix here, and I just love being in the downtown area.”
Next door to the pharmacy, a property owned by Serafino, Nataz Restaurant opened up not too long ago and has had quite a success, according to some of the walk-through participants who have tried it out. The fix prixe menu service features fresh and unique dishes. Instead of starting from scratch, Nataz owners refurbished much of what already existed, and Serafino said he was impressed with their work.
Within eyesight of Serafino’s, two businesses across the street from each other have teamed up on a service. Rice Thai to Go, and Café del Mondo, will cut their costs and share a Grubhub delivery service.
Along Center Street, economic development director Lou Perillo shared his vision of making Southington a “destination.”
“We are trying to create a ‘restaurant row’ here by actively soliciting restaurants,” Perillo said. “We will get a lot of out-of-towners by being a destination. I like the idea of ‘Around the World on Center’ and having all sorts of variety.”
The historic Factory Square is bustling with growth and has completely leased out its second floor to tenants. Christian Dietz, sales and marketing manager with Florian Properties, explained that the building owners are looking to build a-20 foot corridor going through the first floor of the building and invite retail and restaurants to build shops that will invite Rail Trail users in.
Within Factory Square, Ben Wyatt is getting ready to open up “Escapism,” a new trend being brought locally to Southington. The facility will feature escape rooms where teams will have to strategize, find clues, and ultimately escape from a locked room full of puzzles and eerie surprises. He hopes to open in the coming weeks.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.